Re: Photographing Silverware

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jim Polaski, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Jim Polaski

    Jim Polaski Guest

    In article <>,
    Tony Cooper <> wrote:

    > I've been trying to photograph some sterling silverware. It seems any
    > way that I do it that I get an unwanted reflection in the picture...
    > especially with spoons. I get the camera, me, trees, or something as
    > a reflected image. It's not light reflection. It's image reflection.
    >
    > I've been photographing them (Nikon Coolpix) in sunlight since that
    > seems to give the best lighting. Lighting hasn't been the problem.
    > The only time the lighting is a problem is when I'm trying to
    > photograph a hallmark and have the lens about two inches from the
    > object.
    >
    > Any suggestions on how to eliminate the reflections?
    >
    >
    > --
    > Tony Cooper aka:
    > Provider of Jots, Tittles, and Oy!s


    Tony, for the most part as others have said a "tent" is the way to go.
    But that said, I've often done silverware/flatware etc., on a flat
    surface but I use strobe lights(boxes that is, NOT umbrellas). When you
    use a strobe at a high enough power, the shadows go black from the
    inverse square law. Also, it is then easier to add fill cards or
    whatever.

    When you were using available light, you were also photographing
    everything reflected in the silverware. For the most part, the pros
    would not use dulling spray either.

    I'll give you a suggestion. Go to a local landscaper and get some flat
    stones that have *CHARACTER* to them and some color perhaps. Texture.
    Layer those stones in your set and make a place for the silverware. You
    can do some very nice things this way. Use ceramic tiles for background.
    Try placemats, especially the rubber ones. Look for interesting metal
    sheets at the hardware store. Maybe fabrics.

    Think laterally!

    Hope this helps.

    --
    Regards,
    JP
    "The measure of a man is what he will do while expecting that he will get nothing in return!"

    Macintosh for productivity. Linux for servers. Palm/Visor for mobility. Windows to feed the Black Hole in your IT budget
     
    Jim Polaski, Jul 11, 2003
    #1
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  2. Jim Polaski

    Tony Cooper Guest

    On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 02:35:37 GMT, Jim Polaski <>
    wrote:

    >In article <>,
    > Tony Cooper <> wrote:
    >
    >> I've been trying to photograph some sterling silverware. It seems any
    >> way that I do it that I get an unwanted reflection in the picture...
    >> especially with spoons. I get the camera, me, trees, or something as
    >> a reflected image. It's not light reflection. It's image reflection.
    >>
    >> I've been photographing them (Nikon Coolpix) in sunlight since that
    >> seems to give the best lighting. Lighting hasn't been the problem.
    >> The only time the lighting is a problem is when I'm trying to
    >> photograph a hallmark and have the lens about two inches from the
    >> object.
    >>
    >> Any suggestions on how to eliminate the reflections?
    >>
    >>
    >> --
    >> Tony Cooper aka:
    >> Provider of Jots, Tittles, and Oy!s

    >
    >Tony, for the most part as others have said a "tent" is the way to go.
    >But that said, I've often done silverware/flatware etc., on a flat
    >surface but I use strobe lights(boxes that is, NOT umbrellas). When you
    >use a strobe at a high enough power, the shadows go black from the
    >inverse square law. Also, it is then easier to add fill cards or
    >whatever.
    >
    >When you were using available light, you were also photographing
    >everything reflected in the silverware. For the most part, the pros
    >would not use dulling spray either.
    >
    >I'll give you a suggestion. Go to a local landscaper and get some flat
    >stones that have *CHARACTER* to them and some color perhaps. Texture.
    >Layer those stones in your set and make a place for the silverware. You
    >can do some very nice things this way. Use ceramic tiles for background.
    >Try placemats, especially the rubber ones. Look for interesting metal
    >sheets at the hardware store. Maybe fabrics.
    >
    >Think laterally!
    >


    Since I last posted I have constructed a light tent....so to speak.
    It's a monster of an assembly constructed of plywood and lined with
    white cloth. The lighting (incandescent bulbs in reflectors) is
    filtered through a layer of cloth. It actually works pretty well and
    my last attempts have been free of reflections and flares.

    I think, though, if I were to invite a professional photographer into
    my home and show him my "light tent" that I would have to know CPR and
    have a phone number for his next of kin. Has anyone literally laughed
    their ass completely off?

    My current problem is color. I took several shots tonight with my
    Nikon Coolpix 3100 on "auto". I tried some with the silverware on a
    neutral gray artboard and some with the silverware on black cloth.
    The shots turn out with a yellowish cast.

    I played around with them in Photoshop 7 using Curves. See:
    http://home.att.net/~tony_cooper/photoquestions.html
    for three samples. The one on the gray background isn't bad after
    adjusting curves. The one on the black background is still slightly
    yellowish. The bottom one is the only one I didn't even attempt
    anything with in PS7. Those two spoons are sterling silver and not at
    all yellowish. The almost look like they have a gold wash on them.
    I should have kept the top two unadjusted to show the yellow, but I
    wasn't thinking of writing this when I started on them.

    I'll go back at it tomorrow night and try setting the white balance
    for incandescent light instead of auto.

    At this point, I'm not even thinking attractive layouts. I just want
    to get the settings and set-up right.
    --
    Tony Cooper aka:
    Provider of Jots, Tittles, and Oy!s
     
    Tony Cooper, Jul 11, 2003
    #2
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  3. Jim Polaski

    Lionel Guest

    On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 01:01:14 -0400, in
    <>, Tony Cooper
    <> said:

    >Since I last posted I have constructed a light tent....so to speak.
    >It's a monster of an assembly constructed of plywood and lined with
    >white cloth. The lighting (incandescent bulbs in reflectors) is
    >filtered through a layer of cloth. It actually works pretty well and
    >my last attempts have been free of reflections and flares.


    I'm glad to hear it. :)

    >I think, though, if I were to invite a professional photographer into
    >my home and show him my "light tent" that I would have to know CPR and
    >have a phone number for his next of kin. Has anyone literally laughed
    >their ass completely off?


    Well, I've used some pretty weird setups myself, & most professionals
    carry gaffer tape for making strange kludges, so you're not in such
    company, really. A bedsheet, etc, is also a hell of a lot cheaper than
    the equivalent stuff from a pro lighting place.

    >My current problem is color. I took several shots tonight with my
    >Nikon Coolpix 3100 on "auto". I tried some with the silverware on a
    >neutral gray artboard and some with the silverware on black cloth.
    >The shots turn out with a yellowish cast.


    Yes, you'll get that under incandescent light. You would've gotten
    better results setting up a bedsheet outdoors & using sunlight. ;)

    >I played around with them in Photoshop 7 using Curves. See:
    >http://home.att.net/~tony_cooper/photoquestions.html
    >for three samples. The one on the gray background isn't bad after
    >adjusting curves. The one on the black background is still slightly
    >yellowish. The bottom one is the only one I didn't even attempt
    >anything with in PS7. Those two spoons are sterling silver and not at
    >all yellowish. The almost look like they have a gold wash on them.
    >I should have kept the top two unadjusted to show the yellow, but I
    >wasn't thinking of writing this when I started on them.


    I don't know if the Coolpix has any way of setting a manual white
    balance, but even if it doesn't, you can get a perfect white balance by
    taking your first shot of a piece of new, white paper sitting where your
    silverware is going to sit. That will give you a white reference to use
    in Photoshop, which will then be able to correct it perfectly, without
    any stuffing around with curves.

    >I'll go back at it tomorrow night and try setting the white balance
    >for incandescent light instead of auto.


    If you're using domestic bulbs, rather than quartz-halogens, you'll
    probably find that it helps, but won't completely eliminate the yellow
    cast, as the bulbs have a lower colour temperature (ie; they have more
    yellow) than the professional tungstens. It's way easier to fix it in
    Photoshop with a white sample shot.

    >At this point, I'm not even thinking attractive layouts. I just want
    >to get the settings and set-up right.


    Good. That's the right way to tackle the problem.

    --
    W
    . | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
    \|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
    ---^----^---------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Lionel, Jul 11, 2003
    #3
  4. Jim Polaski

    Matti Vuori Guest

    Lionel <> wrote in news:belujm$ptr$:
    > I don't know if the Coolpix has any way of setting a manual white
    > balance, but even if it doesn't, you can get a perfect white balance by
    > taking your first shot of a piece of new, white paper sitting where your
    > silverware is going to sit. That will give you a white reference to use
    > in Photoshop, which will then be able to correct it perfectly, without
    > any stuffing around with curves.


    If the Coolpix doesn't have manual white balance, this will not help, as
    the camera would change its WB settings for the next photo, with the paper
    replaced with silverware.

    --
    Matti Vuori, <http://sivut.koti.soon.fi/mvuori/index-e.htm>
     
    Matti Vuori, Jul 11, 2003
    #4
  5. Jim Polaski

    Lionel Guest

    On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 09:17:35 +0000 (UTC), in
    <Xns93B57CF67E2A8mvuorikotisoonfi@193.229.0.31>, Matti Vuori
    <> said:

    >Lionel <> wrote in news:belujm$ptr$:
    >If the Coolpix doesn't have manual white balance, this will not help, as
    >the camera would change its WB settings for the next photo, with the paper
    >replaced with silverware.


    Um, I didn't make myself very clear, did I? What I meant was a manual
    setting in the sense of being able to dial in a random colour
    temperature directly. I was assuming that it at /at least/ could be
    locked into to some particular setting.
    That said, given that he's shooting into a light tent (ie; 90% of the
    light seen by the CCD is going to be the same colour between the
    silverware & the paper), even an automatic WB would be unlikely to
    change after the first shot.

    --
    W
    . | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
    \|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
    ---^----^---------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Lionel, Jul 11, 2003
    #5
  6. Jim Polaski

    Jim Polaski Guest

    In article <bem3mk$52s$>, Lionel <> wrote:

    > On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 09:17:35 +0000 (UTC), in
    > <Xns93B57CF67E2A8mvuorikotisoonfi@193.229.0.31>, Matti Vuori
    > <> said:
    >
    > >Lionel <> wrote in news:belujm$ptr$:
    > >If the Coolpix doesn't have manual white balance, this will not help, as
    > >the camera would change its WB settings for the next photo, with the paper
    > >replaced with silverware.

    >
    > Um, I didn't make myself very clear, did I? What I meant was a manual
    > setting in the sense of being able to dial in a random colour
    > temperature directly. I was assuming that it at /at least/ could be
    > locked into to some particular setting.
    > That said, given that he's shooting into a light tent (ie; 90% of the
    > light seen by the CCD is going to be the same colour between the
    > silverware & the paper), even an automatic WB would be unlikely to
    > change after the first shot.


    Part of the problem may be that if your bulbs are of differing ages, one
    having a different color than the other, your auto WB could get confused.

    --
    Regards,
    JP
    "The measure of a man is what he will do while expecting that he will get nothing in return!"

    Macintosh for productivity. Linux for servers. Palm/Visor for mobility. Windows to feed the Black Hole in your IT budget
     
    Jim Polaski, Jul 11, 2003
    #6
  7. Jim Polaski

    Lionel Guest

    On Sat, 12 Jul 2003 13:36:55 -0400, in
    <>, Tony Cooper
    <> said:

    >The yellowish tint is gone. The resulting pictures don't need any
    >adjustments with Photoshop. Crop, re-size and re-sample, and go.
    >Actually, I'm using Irfanview instead of Photoshop on them since
    >Irfanview seems to have a better sharpening filter than PS, and I can
    >run the gallery and load and change faster.
    >
    >Where there's a will, and a newsgroup to help, there's a way.


    Another satisfied customer. ;)

    Glad we could help, Tony.

    --
    W
    . | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
    \|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
    ---^----^---------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Lionel, Jul 13, 2003
    #7
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